Anatomy of a Twitter Conversation

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It’s OK to lurk on Twitter. Great for keeping up with breaking news, trends, organizations and personalities. Lawyers, librarians, law firms, CLE, vendors and entrepreneurs – can all be found on Twitter. But to get value from the platform you have to engage, build relationships. Start having conversations.

A few days ago I engaged in a conversation on Twitter and the events that led to and resulted from it led me to write this post. But first a little background on how I finally joined “the Twitter”.

Having a purpose helps to determine your level of engagement

A year into starting a solo CLE venture, I knew I needed to be on Twitter but still didn’t get it. I knew that I didn’t want to be just lurking. Getting antsy, my librarian instincts took over and I began researching how the legal profession used Twitter.

I came across The Pros & Cons of Twitter, a podcast with lawyers Bob Ambrogi, Kevin O’Keefe and Scott Greenfield who know a few things about blogging and social media. I can barely recall the details of the podcast – but finally “got” Twitter and my journey began that day. I think my first tweet was about that talk.

The conversation

It started in another medium — I came across a link in Pinhawk Law Digest to Kevin O’Keefe’s 6 social media tips from a smart lawyer. I checked out the piece on his blog and appreciated it enough to want to broadcast it to the community on Twitter

Getting sidetracked is not a bad thing — I figured Kevin had already tweeted about it so went to his Twitter page to retweet the post and got sidetracked by his recent retweet from Faith Pincus about a conference – “…25 speakers and you could only round up one woman? What gives? #solsc11” (note the #hashtag, another great way to find and join conversations around a particular topic)

Starting the conversation — Yeah, what gives? I wanted to find out too so searched the hashtag and saw that Adrian Dayton, a lawyer and social media advocate was at the conference and live-tweeting it — in Australia. I tweeted, “I hear via @faithpincus that only 1 of the 25 speakers is a woman. What’s up with that? ” He responded and by that time Faith was online and weighed in.

The community contributes — Others joined the conversation. Mine took a detour when the subject of IgniteLaw came up. More conversations ensued. Come to think of it, I never did send out a tweet about Kevin’s post.

Conversation creates opportunities

Two days and a few Direct Messages, emails and telephone calls later, four attorneys had new connections, referrals and opportunities. All facilitated by the conversation on Twitter. Besides the satisfaction of a meaningful engagement, conversations also create business opportunities.

Perhaps next year, organizers of the conference will recall the conversation and have better gender representation among the faculty.

Yes, Twitter can get noisy and consuming which can understandably be a barrier to busy lawyers and legal professionals becoming fully engaged. But it’s okay to step back or miss a day or two. It’s even okay to lurk when you don’t have the time to engage but want to stay informed. But to fully appreciate Twitter and maximize it’s use and potential, join the conversation.

(photo:http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanrasmussen/2634925085/)

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  • Pam Makowski

    I share your vision. I was away from Twitter for a while, but now that I am back in, I cannot overemphasize the value of this medium. For me, it is more about education and sharing ideas. Maybe we can start our own revolution for lawyers on Twitter. Don’t forget to mention that while you can join in the conversation on Twitter, you can also continue the conversation off Twitter. Twitter has allowed me into the minds of so many amazing people that I would never have met otherwise.

  • Yes – twitter is many things to many people. It’s not as user friendly as Facebook, but ultimately can be more powerful. Google seems to know this, as well. I think Twitter can be a great tool for the lawyers who – as you say – “get it.”